28th February 2017

EPI responds to Education Committee report on multi-academy trusts

The House of Commons Education Select Committee has today published a new report on multi-academy trusts (MATs), citing recent Education Policy Institute research. 


The report, which follows an inquiry launched last year, argues that there ‘remains a high degree of uncertainty around the effectiveness of MATs and there is not yet the evidence to prove that large scale expansion would significantly improve the school landscape.’

Following an EPI written submission, as well as oral evidence, the Committee report raises findings from the 2016 report ‘School performance in multi-academy trusts and local authorities‘.

Responding to the report, Natalie Perera, Executive Director at the EPI, said:

“EPI analysis of academies and local authority schools finds academisation is not a silver bullet. The variability between groups of schools – whether multi-academy trusts or local authorities – is very significant. Our analysis found that, at secondary level, the top performing groups have delivered improvements that are on average 5 GCSE grades higher for pupils across their subjects compared to the lowest-performing groups. This variation is far more important than the difference between academies and local authority schools.

In practical terms, this means that while there are a substantial number of high performing multi-academy trusts and local authorities, there are just as many low performing multi-academy trusts and local authorities. This creates the possibility of a school moving from a high performing local authority to a low performing multi-academy trust, or vice versa.

“Government policy should therefore be focused on tackling underperformance and supporting pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – whether that is within local authorities or within multi-academy trusts.”

See also:

Jon Andrews: ‘Reflections on “Academies: 15 years on” Conference

Report – ‘School performance in multi-academy trusts and local authorities